Coping with the Canicule: Summer Scorcher in Paris

This person had the right idea: blessed shade in the arms of an ancient tree, Jardin du Luxembourg

The canicule, or heat wave, continues in Paris. Temperatures as high as 36/37C or 97/98F (38C/100+F in some parts of the city) are supposed to break tomorrow evening, Thursday, around 5pm – less than 21 hours from now, not that we’re counting or anything.

Following our strategy for handling the heat, outlined in Searching for Shade in a Paris Heat Wave, we’ve managed to get out and about a little in the past two days. Riding the bus and metro and being outside for even a short time has been energy-draining and extremely uncomfortable, especially for this cool-weather-loving couple.

A fabulous exhibit (and deliciously air-conditioned!)

I can’t recommend highly enough Pissarro à ÉragnyPissarro in Éragny, Nature Regained (thru 09 July at the Musée du Luxembourg). In tandem with Camille Pissarro, le Premier des Impressionnistes (thru 02 July at Musée Marmottan), you can really feast your eyes and spirit on the beauty of this artist’s work.

Pissarro à Éragny is a stunning display of the great Impressionist’s depictions of the countryside around his village of Éragny-sur-Epte, with fields and orchards, farms, workers, homes and gardens, sunrises and sunsets. Many of the works are from private collections and museums around the world, including a couple in Australia.

I don’t often buy an exhibit’s heavy catalogue containing every painting displayed, but there were so many paintings I loved and could have looked at all day in this exhibit that I splurged on the full catalogue. Heartfelt thanks to Clive for lugging it around in his backpack for the rest of the day in the heat.

After the musée, where to but the adjacent Jardin du Luxembourg, one of Paris’s best and most beautiful gardens. There we found a shady spot to catch our breath and regroup before continuing on.

Trees and shade in the Luxembourg Garden

In addition to the exhibit, we’ve made our way to a favourite papeterie (stationery shop) or two, enjoyed one lunch at a regular café stop and disliked another (very ordinary slap-dash salads) at a brasserie we tried for the first time today. We did have a productive trip to Office Depot so all was not lost, except a few gallons of perspiration as we walked part of the way.

A simple Parisian café, sometimes the best

And no matter the weather, a coffee and pain au chocolat at our local café, along with a warm greeting from the owners and friendly chat with ‘Vlad’, never disappoints.

Morning treat at our local, Paris

Depending on your hemisphere, today is the longest or shortest day; here in Paris, the summer solstice includes Fête de la Musique, a city-wide music festival. Groups of all sizes and styles perform all night long, in every arrondissement, or district, in venues ranging from street corners to concert halls.

This event is considered either wonderful or horrible; it depends on who’s talking. I’ve read of unruly noise torturing residents until dawn and of those who thoroughly enjoyed seeing musicians in a variety of settings. A park near us reportedly drew 7,000 attendees at last year’s Fête de la Musique concert. We debated on and off about checking it out this year (from the edges – I don’t like crowds in any weather), but the prospect of heading back out in the canicule and walking around with a lot of other people just didn’t appeal. Maybe next year.

In the meantime, wherever you walk in Paris, there’s bound to be a pretty patisserie nearby.

Patisserie in pink, Paris

Thinking of our U.S and UK friends and family who are also coping with the heat and we hope and pray you’re staying cool and well.

Thanks for reading and more soon from a cooler – we hope! – Paris.

6 Responses

  1. Has Clive postponed the beef and vegetable stew you all were looking forward to?

    • Certainly not! though we are having smaller quantities 🙂

      We are also enjoying hot! cups of tea when we arrive home in the afternoon and collapse … something about it is quite soothing despite the temperature. However we’re drinking a lot of cold water too…

  2. You guys have to be the coolest couple I know. Stay well, stay safe until next time we meet. Currently 28C here.

    All the best cobbers, Chris

  3. Awww thank you, Chris. 28C has never sounded so good!

    All the best to you and Sandy and we hope to see you in a couple months. Enjoy your New England summer xx

  4. Hottest month of May AND June I have EVER experienced in France.. TWO years ago, we had EXTREME heat in June and July, during the time my friends were visiting from San Diego… It was amazing how HOT Paris heats up… It was humid, now, it is very dry, so for me, though still TOO hot, it is more tolerable than if it were humid…

    By the way, keep in mind that the temps are measured in shade, and so when you are in the direct sunshine, you can add a good 5 to 10 degrees more, depending… Hotter than Hades, right now.. Get shade and drink plenty….

    Have a great time in Paris.. Not sure how long you guys are here for.. Let me know..


  5. Hi Leesa! Good to exchange messages yesterday – wishing you a happy summer wherever you may travel.

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